News and information from Steve’s author and writing life, including what readers are saying about Steve’s books
News and Information | What Readers Are Saying

News and Information

VOM Braille

Xavier Society for the Blind transcribes Voyage of Mercy into braille

Voyage of Mercy has been transcribed into braille and is available in the Xavier Society for the Blind library. Since 1900, Xavier Society for the Blind has been providing free braille and audio books to blind and visually impaired people worldwide in order for them to learn about, develop, and practice their faith. Connect with XSB on Facebook or click here to access their complete catalog of free items.

Due to Enemy Action now available for print-on-demand in hardcover or paperback!

DTEA coverI’m thrilled to announce that my book, Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56, first published in 2005 and converted in 2012 to “e-book only” status, is back in book form! Readers can now order DTEA in hardcover ($27) or paperback ($17) form from Untreed Reads, the ebook publisher who will also continue to make it available in electronic form. You can order your copy in any format here.

Due to Enemy Action tells for the first time a World War II story that spans generations and straddles two centuries, a story that begins with the dramatic Battle of the Atlantic in the 1940s and doesn’t conclude until an emotional Purple Heart ceremony changes naval history in 2002. I was always a bit regretful when we made the decision almost a decade ago to convert this great story to an ebook only, so naturally I’m excited that it’s returning in all forms. Whether you like hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks, Due to Enemy Action is the book for you!

Voyage of Mercy paperback edition now available!

This is really great news and I owe it to your support. Despite shutdowns and closed bookstores for several months after Voyage debuted last March, sales have been robust, and St. Martin’s Press has decided to publish a paperback version of the book.

This is always great news for an author — hardcovers have a shelf life for a year or so (usually less in bookstores), and paperbacks generally ensure that the book will stay on sale (online and in stores) for a long time.

The cover mock-up is shown here. As you can see, it’s basically the same as the hardcover, but also includes a blurb from the great Wall Street Journal review that was published earlier this year.


The cover blurb reads: “A tribute to the better angels of America’s nature…well-researched and splendidly written.”

I was thrilled about this news and — once again — offer my thanks to readers who made it possible!

VOM audiobookVoyage of Mercy audiobook narrator wins prestigious industry award!

I’m really thrilled for Sean Patrick Hopkins, narrator of the audiobook version of my Voyage of Mercy, who was the recipient of the prestigious “AudioFile Earphones Award” for his reading of Voyage. In its review, AudioFile Magazine said of Sean’s narrative style: “He makes this story of America’s first significant overseas aid effort and the two people most responsible — a sea captain and a Catholic priest — come alive.” I completely agree with AudioFile’s review — Sean’s reading was compelling and brilliant. Congratulations Sean!

New York Post Chooses Voyage of Mercy as one of “The 15 best books to read in our age of social isolation”

I was honored that Voyage of Mercy was selected by the New York Post as one of “the 15 best books to read in our age of social isolation.” The Post picked only two nonfiction books, “chosen because they celebrate the best that humanity is capable of.” The Post said of Voyage: “Thousands of ships left Ireland during the Potato Famine in the 1840s, packed with poor and starving crowds fleeing their homeland for the promise of the United States. One ship, the USS Jamestown, headed from Boston in the other direction, loaded with food for the Irish. It was the first humanitarian mission by the United States — prior to it, the idea of nations helping each other was not considered — and it set the precedent for many more such efforts to come. A moving historic tribute.

Milton Reads 2020My thanks to the Town of Milton, Massachusetts for selecting (and promoting) Voyage of Mercy as its community-wide read

In case you missed it, the Town of Milton, Mass., selected Voyage of Mercy as its community-wide read for 2020, the year the book was published. I participated in a great virtual event co-sponsored by the Milton Public Library and the Robert Bennet Forbes House Museum (Forbes was the captain of the USS Jamestown on its historic relief voyage to Ireland). The town has also held a number of other virtual events by experts in various aspects of this story.

It was also great to see the marquee-size banner highlighting Voyage and the “Milton Reads” program outside the Robert Bennet Forbes House Museum!

Thanks to Titcomb’s Bookstore on Cape Cod for selecting Voyage of Mercy as a staff favorite!

TitcombsOne of the nicest independent bookstores anywhere is Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich (Rte 6A) on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The staff knows and loves books, which is why I’m honored that proprietor Vicky Titcomb selected my Voyage of Mercy as one of her “favorites.”

Here I am with Vicky after a visit during the summer; we’re standing near the landmark “colonial man” statue that stands in front of the store.

Titcomb’s epitomizes all that is great about local bookshops. I’ve spent hours browsing there, and the staff is among the most helpful you’ll meet. Thanks to Vicky, the team, and Titcomb’s, and I hope you’ll drop in the next time you’re on Cape Cod!

Boston ItaliansMy master’s thesis — the foundation for The Boston Italians — is now number one in total downloads in UMass-Boston History Department

I was deeply honored to find out that my master’s thesis, From Italy to Boston’s North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910 (UMass-Boston 1994) has become the number one “downloaded” thesis ever in the UMass-Boston History Department.

Since the digitized thesis program was implemented in 2013, my thesis — which formed the foundation for my book The Boston Italians — has been downloaded (as of March 2021) more than 18,500 times from people in 118 countries, and every continent except Antarctica.

My thanks to you for your interest in my work and for making The Boston Italians a success!

Bill of Rights Institute now includes my overall summary, lesson plan for The Caning and its effects on the Civil War

One of the things that I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is the opportunity to go into schools and share the stories of history with students from elementary school all the way through college. I can’t wait do resume these appearances.

In the meantime, I’m excited that the Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute has now posted my summary article and student lesson plan on Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks, based on my book, The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War. The lesson includes the outline of the event, review questions, AP practice questions, and primary and secondary sources.

If you or a student you know is interested in this era, or specifically on this dramatic event that put the country irrevocably on the path to Civil War, I urge you to check it out and let me know what you think!

Historical Novel Society calls American Treasures “narrative nonfiction at its best”

Those of you who have heard me speak know that authors of history should consider it a great compliment when someone says a nonfiction book “reads like a novel.” With all of its natural drama, history should always be written in a compelling and entertaining way.

It’s why I was grateful to the Historical Novel Society (founded in the UK and now international) for its review of my book American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. The HNS generally — as you can infer from its name — focuses on historical fiction. But sometimes they review nonfiction when the story captivates them.

Of American Treasures, reviewer Jennifer Bort Yacovissi wrote, “an example of narrative non-fiction at its best: thorough research underpins an engaging — even gripping — story that captures the reader, who races along to discover what happens next…”

My thanks to Jennifer and the HNS for a review that encapsulates my writing philosophy!

What Readers Are Saying

What Readers Are Saying About Steve’s Books
Selected Amazon reviews on “Voyage of Mercy”

Janet C.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of American compassion during the Irish potato famine.
Great book! I didn’t know anything about the potato famine of Ireland and how Americans stepped up to rescue them from starvation.

Jon Fadiman

4.0 out of 5 stars Most Informative. Well written.
A very interesting exposition about a subject that many of us Americans know very little about. I learned a great deal, and the writing is so vivid that the reader becomes engrossed in the presentation of the entire history. Sometimes, I felt that I was being told more than I wanted to know, and the author was perhaps too intent on simply getting down everything that he had researched on every aspect of his subject. Overall, an excellent book.


5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, educational, and inspirational
Amazing book! The author did an incredible job of researching the facts and putting all of the information together in a captivating way. I learned much about Irish history and about the assistance America gave to Ireland during a horrific time in Irish history. I highly recommend this book.

Kindle Customer

4.0 out of 5 stars interesting.
Brought to light how devastating the famine was.

Riley Bowers

5.0 out of 5 stars A Generous and Powerfully Told Story
In telling the story of two bold men and a landmark relief mission at the height of the Irish potato famine, Stephen Puleo delivers another one of those stories we’re better off knowing. His curiosity is exhaustive. His instincts are sound. The language is vigorous and generous. You’d be hard-pressed to find greater value in the hours spent reading this one.

Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, detailed historical account.
The Irish potato famine did a lot to change our American culture, both short and long term. Too many of us, while we “know about it”, cannot fully realize its impact or the people involved in dealing with it. This book relates that, with great detail. As one who does not have Irish ancestry, I have gained enormous knowledge and understanding.


5.0 out of 5 stars Another event brought to life by a great author
I love the way this author can bring history to life. The extensive research he does on the people involved makes you appreciate the importance of every event he discusses. This is the way history should be taught!
I’ve read Voyage of Mercy and Dark Tide. What Ive learned about the events, the people and how these stories shaped our lives today and what we need to continue to learn from the events has been enlightening. I have two more books ordered.